Psychological treatments for obesity in youth and adults

Mt Sinai J Med. 2010 Sep-Oct;77(5):472-87. doi: 10.1002/msj.20205.


Obesity has become a leading global health concern affecting both physical and mental quality of life. This article reviews the psychological interventions currently utilized in confronting the obesity epidemic. It examines obesity in both the pediatric and adult populations, specifically considering empirical evidence of weight loss interventions through randomized control trials. Behavioral weight loss intervention and family-based interventions emerged as 2 of the more frequently utilized and data-supported approaches. Empirically supported psychological treatments for subgroups of the obese population, such as individuals with binge eating disorder, are considered here as well. Limitations of the current interventions are discussed, including issues with generalizability across demographic variables such as age and severity of overweight status. Despite these limitations, overall, psychological interventions play an important role in achieving and maintaining weight loss.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Quality of Life
  • Young Adult